ni hao – part IV

the ambassadors to the united states arrive in beijing and get the party started - sushi style...

Day 5 – Beijing or Bust
We arrived to Beijing at 7 AM to yet another surreal train station filled to the brim with people shoving and spitting. Went to the nearest taxi rank which was a freeforall of people going apeshit. Arlie was getting thrown aside left and right before she became empowered by my urgings of “just hit the damned bastards out of the way too” when she started elbowing and doing a little shoving of her own. We got our taxi and headed immediately to the Pennisula Palace hotel in the Wangfujing district of Beijing.

Immediately we noticed a difference in the cities. Gone were all of the skyscrapers and big modern buildings of Shanghai. Hello to short buildings and basically flat structure. A Los Angeles to New York – if you don’t mind the comparison. It was 7 AM, but that didn’t mean that anyone was sleeping. The roads were jam packed with cars and bicycles.

xmas tree with goodies

Got to the Pennisula and checked in. We were in awe of the Christmas tree in the front that was fully stocked with bags from Gucci, Prada, Versace, Bvlgari and the rest of the luxury boutiques that our hotel housed. We pondered the thought of having that same tree in our own homes. Then we checked into our supposed 5 star accomodations…

You have to keep in mind that Arlie and I had grown rather fond of our room at the St. Regis. The free breakfast and internet. The Herman Miller chair. The soft beds and turndown with our chocolates. The loving way our butler left sea salts for our baths. The soft feel of the rain forest shower on our heads. OK – we were spoiled to death by the St. Regis. So when we arrived to our really nice room at the Pennisula we were slightly disappointed…

Granted we did have a 42″ plasma in our room, but the view left something to be desired. The room wasn’t very large. Then the toilet started leaking and the hammering started. Yes, we were a bit annoyed. They moved our rooms, but from that moment on our vision of the Pennisula was shattered. It didn’t get better when we found out from fellow travellers that they had free breakfast, their room rate was cheaper and they had a television in their bathtub. Got a traveltip to book rooms on Asia Rooms

Spent most of the day catching up on sleep from not sleeping on the train.

Got up in time to go see an acrobat show somewhere in the city.

chinese acrobats

These little trooper kids are amazing. You should really see the amazing feats that they can perform. Their bodies are in peak physical condition – even at a young age of about 7 years old. The show was really cool. Enjoyed it a lot.

sushi in china is good

Afterwards, we went to dinner at Matsune, a Japanese restaurant rated as being one of the best in the city. Yes, it may seem weird to go all the way to China to eat Japanese food, but that is what we did and it turned out quite well. The food was delicious and I was just happy that Arlie didn’t want to puke or complain about the things she couldn’t eat.

ambassador robesky

We ended up drinking a few Asahis and sakes too many and making a bunch of really stupid videos before heading back to the hotel. At the hotel we sat in the hotel bar and ordered up a few martinis and got a bit crazier. Needless to say, the hotel staff weren’t superfans of ours. Not that they hated us, but I think we traumatised them a little bit by climbing on the porcelin horse and then asking all of them to say “Hi Mom” to our video.

ambassador haft

When we told Arlie’s mom, Sara, this on a drunken phone call she didn’t seem too thrilled with us and told us to behave as we were ambassadors to the United States. Oh well, at least we didn’t hawk a phlegmy spitball in the lobby…